Friday, 31 August 2012

You have to take the good with the bad Seddon - Lunch at Chicco

Ok ... firstly, the next few posts will be slightly out of whack timewise! I'm trying to catch up so many things I sometimes feel like I can't breathe! So I'm just going to let my brain run with it!

So this concerns a recent visit to Chicco on Charles Street in Seddon.

You're going to want to shut this page down in disgust as I display a flagrant sense of elitism when I say that Chicco ticks all the right coolbrunchcafe boxes ... cavernous space with found objects as light and display fittings, tattooed androgony behind coffee machine, blogger berated/heralded choice of coffee bean (Padre in this case), breakfast/lunch menu with all the right highlights, and the pull of a burgeoning local urbane crowd ... but I just don't know what it is ... it all feels slightly put on. Or rather, it doesn't have a strong design ethic, but it doesn't have the feel of an organic process either.

I think what really bolstered my feeling of mistrust was the fact that M's chicken pie came out slightly burnt ... and no one batted an eyelid or even attempted an apology ... and really if you were in anyways proud of your produce and your cafe, you wouldn't let that off the pass, regardless of whether your punter minded or not ...

However my Wasabi Salmon with avocado and wasabi cream cheese on Rye was exactly what the doctor ordered. Amazing Rye bread, with a nice wasabi hint, from a kitchen that isn't scared to salt an avocado. So clearly where it counts (almost) they're manning the boards quite competently.

Coffee comes in cheery colours much like they do at Footscray Milking Station. And it was all in all a pretty pleasant experience.

So I'm torn (between 2 lovers, feeling like a fool)! I still can't shake the feeling of disingenous artifice ... and their website doesn't help either as it plays a Charlie Chaplin movie in a loop on its welcome page. Slight teeth on edge or early onset Tinnitus ...

Regardless, it still is a welcoming place and has a decent menu and does good coffee. So check it out when you can ... and commiserate with me that we didn't have the forethought of buying into Seddon when it was still reasonably affordable.

Chicco on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Cold Cold Cold - Random thoughts and a bit of music thrown in

Ok ... its tumbleweed country over here at the Temasek blog. This Winter has been unduly overwrought!! But as we wing our way ever closer to the start of Spring, I can feel my creative juices bubbling up like a haitus hernia and I am ready to plunge into the world of nutjobs and misogynists (the web according to Julia) and wax lyrical on the detritus of my (non)life; nothing more trite or insignificant will you find this side of the mad monk's twitter feed!

So even though we can expect balmy skies in the near future, for the moment it is ....

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Confettii, coloured varnish, Pom Pom animals, mahjong encrusted peep shows ... Being amazing at the Melbourne Art Fair

Ok ... I've said it before and I say it again, if I had the money I would collect art. And there's no better way to shop than at the Melbourne Art Fair. Numerous galleries showcasing their wares all under the hallowed roof of the Exhibition building. It was a pleasant way of spending a Saturday afternoon rubbing shoulders with all those creative types in their textured black and their bottomless pocketbooks, being suitably inspired by the craft and imagination of the artisans who make this world of ours just that little bit more bearable. We spoke to enthusiastic gallery owners who were eager to spruik their collections without the pressure of necessarily making a sale. But given the number of red dots we saw, they weren't doing too badly with their bottom line. In actual fact, from a purely investment point of view, the Melbourne Art Fair is a great way of spotting new and upcoming talent, and those red dots, particularly if they are concentrated round a single artist, is a great way of divining where to plonk your hard earned cash next.

It would be an arduous task to put down all the works we liked in a single post, so here are some of our highlights. But first, let me start with our best picks of the day. For me, it was hands down the Melbourne based scottish artist Euan Heng. The piece I loved was called Centre Forward. There's a sort of deco poster quality to his pristine clean lines and pastelly hues. And the silver dot completely made the picture for me.

 Centre Forward - but with a black dot (pic courtesy of Boutwell Draper Gallery from the Melbourne Art Fair website)

Little Lamp Painting (pic courtesy of
Semaphore (pic courtesy of

He also does neon sculptures with equally simple lines that are just as stunning.

 e is for elephant (pic courtesy of

momento dome (pic courtesy of

M was fascinated by New Zealander Gregory Bennett's digital artpiece Omnipolis. A post apocalyptic urban scene scape populated by showroom dummies gesticulating amongst wartorn buildings and plumes of fire and smoke. We were equally blown away by the accompanying video loop. It reminded him of childhood games playing with toy soldiers, although the stark colours and shiny black backdrop pointed towards something a little more sinister. The examples below give you some idea of the intriguing and strangely hynoptic artistic nightmares this animator indulges in. The real thing, of course, had greater impact.

Another New Zealander that turned our heads was Martin Thompson. Using marker pens and graph paper, he constructs amazing geometrical patterns that just burst with colour and unassuming symmetry.

Untitled by Martin Thompson (pic from the Otago Daily Times)

Purple (pic from

The piece by Israel Burch called Kawakawa fairly leapt off the walls and immediately drew our eyes in towards its polished steel surface carefully layered with dark orange laquer. The picture below simply does not do it justice. Burch is a Maori artist who tries to incorporate his culture and traditions into a contemporary visual medium. The end results are rich in colour and texture.

Kawakawa (pic from

David Noonan, a London based Australian artist dealing in mainly screenprints, had an installation that made me feel like busting some Saturday Night Fever moves. Just looking at his birch ply figurines of a moustachoied lothario replendent in flares and platforms and I was Bianca Jagger complete in floppy hat, oversized sunnies and belted jersey dress, sashaying throgh the gallery on my way to Studio 54.

Installation (pic from

Although I am more partial to the non-colour end of the spectrum, every now and then a bright shiny calvacade of colours in swirly patterns can make my creative heart sing. Reuben Paterson, another Kiwi, uses glitter and gold dust (can there be a better medium??) to compose his Maori motifs. The series we saw was called End of Phase, but the picture below gives you a little idea of the richness this artists mines.

The Chinese artists are always ones to watch and I absolutely adored Qin Chong's abstract strokes of ink on paper. Qin Chong divides his time between Beijing and Berlin and perhaps its that melding of Eastern and Western sensibilities that really appeals to me and understandably touches a chord.

11th January doesn't matter (pic from

Oliver Watts, a Sydney artist, is a bit of a clever cogs, having studied Arts and Law before turning his attention to more creative pursuits with shapes of coloured paper and dada poetry. I would love to commission him to do a portrait of M and me, but sadly we do not exist in that stratosphere. We actually met Oliver at the stand and he is so lovely!

Andre Breton (pic from

The Elevator Carried A King (pic from

Brisbane artist Grant Stevens had M metaphorically reaching for his wallet with his lenticular print series called Love is a Drug. It would be hard to get the full effect on the 2D representation below, but lenticular prints are those pictures or photos that change from one image to another as you move them. It was used a lot for religious iconography and (oddly enough) dirty pictures of old. You know, Jesus with clapsed hands in prayer, then wow! Jesus with outstretched hands. Or Betty Grable in 50s pant suit, then Ooh! Betty Grable topless! Anyhoo these were amazing. You could buy a single edition with one aspect of the colour spectrum, or buy the lot and have the whole rainbow at your disposal.

And finally, if you have lasted the distance of this post, we have saved the most whimsical for last. Troy Emery!! Amazeballs!! Taking cues from taxidermy, Troy's animals were not hunted, skinned and formaldehyded, they were lovingly pummelled to "death" by the local community craft society. Taxidermy with coloured pom poms, pipe cleaners and golden tassles ... where do I sign?!

You are probably reading this after the fact, but if you're thinking of going next year, make sure you give yourself enough time. We only managed to walk through the ground floor and never made it upstairs. Its exhausting but you get to see so much.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Laksa Sarawak Stylee!

Ok ... the best way to get yourself out of a rut is to find an activity that you both enjoy doing, sadly in our case its not the beast with 2 humps, so the next best alternative is something that can both excite and feed the soul ... food.

So we decided to try our hand at making a laksa paste ... not any old laksa paste, but the Sarawak variety.

Suitably inspired by the Three Hungry Tummies (and if you've never heard of this blog, crawl out from under your rock, prostrate before the Asian food gods and recite 10 Nasi Lemaks and 5 Beef Rendangs as penance!), we decided to spend an afternoon developing early onset RSI and heat induced vertigo by standing over a wok for the better part of an hour constantly stirring Laksa Paste.

I have to say that it was well worth the effort as the resultant jar of yummy goodness has already served us well several times over.

Try it! Go on!

Damon Albarn I want to have your babies!! My Blur Boxset has arrived.

Ok ... I can't remember the last time I have been this excited. And really its just stuff!! But its amazing stuff.

My Blur boxset has arrived! And its a doozy.

All the albums remastered from the original tapes which had to be baked in order to prevent wobbles. In addition there is a slew of extras across 2 Cds, 3 DVDs of live and promotional material and a 7" to boot.

I wouldn't classify myself as an uber Blur fan but I've enjoyed most of their output including the various solo outings (ok maybe not so much Graham ... although he was the most friendly of the lot when I met them many moons ago). And I do love my remasters and am a sucker for packaging.

I think Damon is a genius ... just quietly. I've even warmed to his Dr Dee concept album. I just love the fact that they're so English ... and I am an Anglophile from way back.

But don't misconstrue the tweeness. As a live proposition, Blur Rawwwkkss!!

And has there ever been a cuter video than the one for Coffee and TV? I think not.

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